Late Pleistocene and Holocene Beringia vegetation dynamic reconstructions based on a yedoma exposure, Itkillik (Alaska)


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Jens.Strauss [ at ] awi.de

Abstract

The Itkillik river area in Alaska (69°34′ N, 150°52′W), is part of the loosely defined region of Beringia, which was largely unglaciated during the last ice age. Beringia is known to have acted as a refugium for boreal trees and shrubs during the Pleistocene, but questions remain about the environmental history of North-Eastern Beringia, especially the extent and dynamics of the now extinct tundra-steppe biome. The 33-m-high Itkillik river exposure formed over the late Pleistocene / early Holocene (48,000 to 5,000 14C yr BP) and the exposed eolian sediments are largely undisturbed, offering a unique opportunity to examine a long term vegetation sequence in high latitude environment and link the vegetation reconstructions with the sedimentology and cryostratigraphy of the region. Because of the very low concentration of pollen in the sediments, we utilized an extraction method based on heavy-liquid (Sodium Polytungstate (SPT)) separation. Our results show a tundra-steppe vegetation type, characterized by the abundance of cyperacea and graminea taxa. Overall the pollen record of the Itkillik exposure will provide an important point of comparison to other sites localised in the circumpolar circle, especially in Siberia, as yedoma remains one of the most noticeable structures of the cold and dry periglacial environment of the Arctic and subarctic east Siberia. Implications of our findings for local climate reconstructions using pollen-climate transfer functions are discussed.



Item Type
Conference (Poster)
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Not peer-reviewed
Publication Status
Published
Event Details
AGU Fall Meeting 2013, 09 Dec 2013 - 13 Dec 2013, San Francisco, USA.
Eprint ID
34591
Cite as
Lapointe Elmrabti, L. , Talbot, J. , Kanevskiy, M. , Strauss, J. , Shur, Y. and Fortier, D. (2013): Late Pleistocene and Holocene Beringia vegetation dynamic reconstructions based on a yedoma exposure, Itkillik (Alaska) , AGU Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, USA, 9 December 2013 - 13 December 2013 .


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